Wine Cellar

What the hell? Wine?

So, this one wee alcohol aphorist decided to go outside his personal safe spot and, when invited by a friend, went along to a wine tasting in Bristol. Now beer and whisky are still my drinks of choice, but I thought some of you may be amused by my initial blunderings through attempting to do notes on wine. Due to the nature of the event, almost a quick fire of wines, my notes are quick jotted rather than the usual detail expected. Feel free to be amused at my ignorance here.

Champagne and Sparkling:

Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut Millesimato 2013: 11% ABV

Light, fruity. Apple crumble. Fizzy. Lychee. Sweet cider. : – This I probably felt was the weakest of the day. It felt a bit like cheap cider to me and didn’t seem to have much body going for it.

Averys Cava Brut NV: 11.5% ABV

Musky, sour grapes. Gooseberry. Lychee. Custard touch. Slightly thick mouthfeel. :-Found this one ok, a bit heavier. Seemed an ok one to me.

Chateau De L’Aulee Cremant de Loire Brut NV: 12.5% ABV

Quite bready, brown bread. Apples and apple crumble. Light vanilla back. :- This seemed to me to be what the Valdobbiadene wanted to be. It has the same light apple crumble flavours but the bready body gives it a much better feel and was the first of this set I really could enjoy.

Ravissement des Vignes Blanc de Blancs Champagne 1996: 12.5% ABV

Cake sponge. Yeastie in a Belgian blond mixed with lambic style. Apricot. Definite Belgian blond beer flavours. :- Yeah, I am fairly sure most wine experts would use different terms than I did. At 60 quid a bottle this was the most expensive of the day and. Well, interesting. It didn’t taste like anything else that day. Very yeastie, very blond beer. Very fascinating, but I will admit I would just go for a good Belgian Blond at much cheaper price for the same experience.


Chateau Baret Blanc Pessac Leognan 2011: 13.5% ABV

Vanilla. Crème brulee. Caramel. Smooth. Toffee. Sour grapes. Vanilla. Apples.:- This was a nice opener for the set. Nicely matches sweetness and acidic sour character.

Chateau Fournas Bernadotte Haut Medoc 2009 13.5% ABV

Cherries and blackcurrant. Toffee. Strawberry. Tannins. Soft sponge. Light acidity. Dry. :- Nice enough indeed – felt a bit dry on the body to deliver what the aroma promised, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Chateau Haut Daugay St Emilion Grand Cru 2007: 13.5% ABV

Soft red grapes. A Soft blackcurrant. Not heavy at all, very easy drinking. Fruit lightly delivered. :- Very easy going, I was mixed on this one. Went down very easily, but I had been spoiled by the bigger flavours of other wines. Probably shows itself more in a full glass or bottle than in a sample at a guess.

Les Carmes de Rieussec Sauternes 2012: 13.5% ABV

Floral. Citrus. Fresh. Pineapple and kiwi. Sweet – marzipan and dried apricot. Lime syrup. Lychee: – Sauternes! I recognise that from some whisky finishes! A dessert wine I believe. Pretty close to a smooth barley wine in character, and a more familiar experience for me. Could see this after a less sweet styled cheesecake. Very nice.


Wines of Spain

Pazo do Mar Expression Albarino Ribeiro 2013: 13% ABV

Apricot. Sweet. Vanilla. Bready. Gose. Dried apricot. Tannins? : – This one didn’t quite grab me, possible the gose style character which I am only just getting used to in beer coming out in wine shook me.

Bodegas Castano Hecula Yecla 2013: 14% ABV

Raspberries in cream. Blackcurrant. Jammy then dry. Earthy. :- Found this one a game of two halves, very fresh and fruity up front, very dry and earthy at the back. Nice, but I preferred the front half I think.

Sonorio de Sarria Reserve Especial 2004: 14% ABV

Figs. Plums. Blueberry. Silky smooth. Figgy pudding. Brandy cream. Raisins. :- Oh yes this is the stand out of the day. Utterly smooth like velvet, lovely figgyness. Reminds me of a nice wine version of a brewed up and aged ESB. Unfortunately at 25 quid it is one of the more expensive for a bottle. Very fruity, very relaxing. very nice indeed.

Cal Pla Priorat 2013: 15% ABV

Blueberry. Jammy. Tannins. :- Erm, this came after Sonorio de Sarria Reserve Especial 2004 I may have been distracted and taken rubbish notes.

New World Vs Old World

Vincent Grail Sancerre Cuvee Tradition 2013: 12.5 % ABV

Dry and clean. Oatmeal finish. Dry honey. Chestnuts. Tangerine :- seemed a bit simple at first, dry and closed but over time lovely soft tangerine came out. Much better than first impressions and very enjoyable.

New World: Invivo Black Label Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014: 13 % ABV

Musky. Gooseberries. Berry hairs. vanilla. Leather finish. :- This is the winner of the two, booming aroma, flavour and lovely finish.

Old World: Averys Fine Red Burgundy 2012: 13% ABV

Cherries. Dry tannins. Pepper. Lightly nutty. :- Slightly closed on the aroma here, but this worked better in the long run.

New World: Casa Silva Paredones Cool Coast Pinot Noir 2012: 14% ABV

So dark as to be nigh purple. Spicy. Rich. Raspberries. Sherry trifle. Earthy. Spicy. Dry. Turmeric. Brandy Cream :- This opened up well, wonderful on the eye and massive aroma, but the main body is slightly simpler earthy character which let old world take it here.

There was also a pair of riesling grapes wines given to us in this section blind. I managed to work out which one was old and new world! Ok, everyone managed to work that out based on which had the more booming aroma, but as a wine newbie I was quite chuffed. I didn’t get the names on these two, but I found them both quite gently lemon influenced, sweet and easy to drink.

A Barrel

Final Thoughts

One thing I have learnt. Sod problems trying to spell whisky distilleries, it is the names of wines that will give you headaches. Apparently the words “Less is more” never occurred to them. I may have got cramp in my hand typing out those scrabble winning lines. I may have misspelled some, I have double checked them as I wrote, but god damn those are some long names.

I also learnt the word “Autolytic” to refer to the, if I remember rightly, yeast character from secondary fermentation in bottles, most often found in Champagne and sparkling wines. I will now try to use it to sound more clever than I am.

Overall it was a very good event, well priced at 25 pounds, very experienced people walking you through the experience and giving a whole host of background information to help you enjoy it. Good quality bread and cheese given to both tide you over and complement the wine, and plenty of water to refresh. My only complaint was the event felt it needed a bit more time to breath (Ha ha, that’s a wine joke, no? I am such a shining wit). You had to rush through all the wine given at times, when I could happily have lingered longer. Maybe that is just me though. Still, as complaints go, they gave you too much wine is hardly the worst.